In those glory days of yesteryear(1955) when sex was a mystery and Doctors were men, we find our heroes, Doctor Masters and his assistant Mrs Johnson. Over the course of the first season we see the relationship between Dr Masters and Mrs Johnson goes through a number of changes. She moves easily from secretary to research assistant to research partner to sex partner. This last bit is in order to better understand the data they have been collecting.
Mrs Johnson is a woman who enjoys sex and every man she has sex with can’t help but fall in love with her. Other members of the sex study also have emotional and physical attractions of one sort or another, but none of them has the magnetic quality of Virginia Johnson. I have to say that I like Lizzy Caplan as the often stone faced professional who can’t say no-or can’t say no for very long. She spends a lot of time looking pensive and unhappy, as she never gets the credit or respect she deserves as Doctor Johnson’s partner. So when we see a little snippet of her smiling hugely after having an orgasm it is an almost magic moment. Masters of Sex does a great job of making Virginia an object of desire-you can’t but wonder what, exactly, she does to inspire such devotion.
Michael Sheen’s William Masters is all business all the time, even while having sex he keeps a professional face and calmly announces as he enters each stage of sexual response. Perhaps this is why Virginia fails to notice that he has fallen madly in love with her, his long lust-filled glances can easily be confused with his desire for a fresh cup of coffee.
Along the way to a scientific understand of human sexual response we meet Doctor Master’s wife, his boss, and a number of his coworkers. We also meet Mrs Johnson’s ex-husband, her kids, and her mentor, a doctor who is also a woman. All of these people are effected to lessor or greater extends by the Study.
Then there are the many people who volunteer for the study where they perform sex acts of one kind or another while hooked up to monitoring deices and observed by Masters and Johnson. This is work that is often viewed as less than serious and important by those in power where Masters and Johnson work.
Masters of Sex is a beautiful show to watch. The sets and costumes do a great job of setting the time period and the cast is made up of beautiful people, many of whom have sex scenes. There are several subplots not having to do with sex, but the Study is clearly the star of the show.
There was one scene I found interesting. Bill and Virginia are arguing and this causes Bill to loose his erection. He says that they will now have to wait 16 minutes before they can perform their usual Study session. She tells him she can’t tonight anyway. So…Do most men have to wait 16 minutes for another erection, even without reaching orgasm? Masters of Sex is full of such little tidbits about the sexual response, but Doctor Masters never seems to question the ethical grounds involved in participating in your own sex study.
Masters of Sex is good show and it has a fun opening credit: